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Speeches & Transcripts

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim's Comments at a Joint Press Conference with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Rwanda

May 24, 2013

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim Press Conference Kigali, Rwanda


DR. KIM:  Thank you.  I just have--Secretary-General really gave a very comprehensive statement.

I would just say two things.  We were very honored to accompany the Secretary-General on this trip.  We were able to put on the table an additional $1 billion for development assistance in the region.  The billion dollars will go into projects focused on energy, which of course is one of things that are desperately needed in this region, but also into health care, education, agriculture, and other projects that we think will help to secure the peace in this region.

We are also very happy to be here with former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson.  And one of the things we're going to try to do is to continue to link the framework agreement with other initiatives which the Secretary-General holds such great promise.

So, for example, if we could bring the parties together in the framework agreement and tackle the issue of sustainable energy for all, which is another initiative that the Secretary-General began, we think that by helping to focus the attention of the framework  agreement on very practical issues that we know can help everybody that we will move the dialogue along and help further to secure peace.

I also want to especially thank our Rwandan hosts and thank them for showing us two truly extraordinary projects.  The first was a project that built homes based on universal architecture, meaning an architecture that makes them accessible to anyone, including people living in wheelchairs, to bring universal architecture to a country that's still struggling with poverty and to build these homes specifically for former combatants who were part of the FDLR, an enemy group for the Government of Rwanda I thought was truly remarkable.  A state of the art project for the disabled, and at the same time, one focused on reconciliation.

The other project that I wanted to mention to the Rwandan audience is the Isange One-Stop Center.  It is the most forward-thinking project for victims of gender-based violence that I've ever seen in a developing country, bringing the police together with medical professionals who collect evidence to successfully prosecute perpetrators of sexual violence is absolutely a state of the art project and I think it signals in a very strong way this government's commitment to fighting gender-based violence.  We know that this region is one in which gender-based violence is a huge issue, and it's steps like the one that they've taken here in Rwanda that will be critical to tackling this issue which is, frankly, a stain on all our consciousness, that so many women are being raped, and yet so many women are victims of sexual assault as a weapon of war.

Having said that, I think that, despite the difficulty, the framework agreement gives us enormous hope, and our visit so far has given me hope that we can move forward with peace, security, and economic development together. 

Thank you.